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Frame Your Future Event Series

This March, Columbia University School of Professional Studies hosts a series of multi-disciplinary conversations where faculty, practitioners, and alumni in their respective fields of study and professional practice probe some pivotal questions shaping business and commerce, science and technology, governance, culture, and society today. Current faculty, alumni, and guest speakers share current experiences from the field and insights from deep academic inquiry, offering audience members a window on theory and practice in key professional and employment arenas. These conversations are essential for anyone wishing to advance or change the course of their careers. The series culminates with a school-wide Open House designed for attendees and prospective students to learn more about course content and application procedures for M.S. and M.P.S. programs, as well as summer offerings, certificates, postbaccalaureate studies, and more academic options offered by the School of Professional Studies.  

Building Blocks for Sustainability

Monday, March 8th, 6:00–6:45 pm ET | Featuring Faculty & Alumni of Construction Administration, Sustainability Management, and Sustainability Science

Metropolitan regions are characterized by their complex reciprocities between technology and people, nature and culture, with incoming and outgoing flows of energy, water, resources, and materials. They account for 70% of global GDP and an even larger share of GHG emissions and waste. New technology, reconfigured supply chains, transportation networks, architectural and engineering solutions, and other trends are changing how we think about sustainability and climate change adaptation at strategic and local levels. Today, more than ever, there is a demand to treat sustainability as a significant and strategic value driver that ensures the needs of the present without compromising the security and prosperity of future generations. We want to meet this need by contributing to the holistic perspectives and interdisciplinary conversations that explore the ideas and building blocks of delivering a more sustainable and equitable built environment. 


Game Time Decision-Making in Times of Disruption

Thursday, March 11th, 6:00–6:45 pm ET | Featuring Faculty and Alumni of Human Capital Management and Information and Knowledge Strategy

The challenges faced by business leaders to make wise decisions under pressure are enormous. The global pandemic has caused economic, human capital, and supply chain disruptions; opportunities and increased competition alike are emerging from technological innovations in 5G, AI, and automation; and the widespread demand for enhanced social justice is giving rise to enormous change as well as new opportunities.

In this conversation, practitioners, faculty, and alumni from two SPS programs compare notes and share insights on what conditions, structures, and strategies can be employed to foster smart, productive, successful decisions: be it through logistics, planning, and foresight; through a better understanding of psychology and biases; or through rational analysis of near- and long-term costs and benefits at a time of unprecedented uncertainty.


Responding to Shock 

Monday, March 15th, 8:00–8:45 am ET | Featuring Faculty and Alumni of Actuarial Science and Enterprise Risk Management

Professionals involved in long-term financial planning must now take into account that in this time of growing unpredictability, we are coming to expect the unexpected—whether it be natural disasters, sudden political upheaval, disruption due to new technology, or new government regulations. At the same time, AI, analytics, and behavioral economics are making predictive modeling more sophisticated, accurate, and enlightening than ever before. With a rapidly expanding technological toolkit, we are better able to analyze data, understand biases, and game out possible futures, in order to assess cost, benefit, and risk. In this conversation, SPS faculty and alumni glimpse the future of saving, investing, and planning for individuals and employers seeking to balance the upsides and downsides of a volatile, dynamic, and unpredictable economy. 


Building Equity for a Post-Pandemic World

Thursday, March 18th, 6:00–6:45 pm ET | Featuring Faculty and Alumni of Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, Nonprofit Management, and Strategic Communication

As the year unfolded, “2020” became shorthand for loss, disruption, collective trauma, turbulence, and unpredictability as a global pandemic and a deeply contentious election dominated American life. It was also a landmark year in the journey toward a more equitable society, with sustained protest and demands for social and racial justice nationwide. Now, we must move forward. In this conversation, thought leaders, faculty, and practitioners consider specific steps that individuals and institutions can take to heal a nation scarred by bitter division, and discuss tools that can be developed and deployed to facilitate difficult, but critical conversations in communities, workplaces, and over kitchen tables across the nation.


Racing with Vaccines: Data, Narratives, and Ethics

Wednesday, March 24th, 6:15–7:00 pm ET | Featuring Faculty and Alumni of Applied Analytics, Bioethics, and Narrative Medicine

The spread of COVID-19 has produced grueling timeframes for drug companies, governments, and health systems to develop and deploy life-saving therapies, policies, and protocols to combat the global pandemic. This urgency exacerbates profound social and ethical questions, particularly related to the mass distribution of vaccines being rushed to market at unprecedented speed. In this conversation, faculty from the Bioethics, Narrative Medicine, and Applied Analytics programs consider complex questions about how we as a society can make equitable decisions, balance the use of big data necessary to make drug and vaccine trials viable, while also valuing and drawing on the lived experiences of individuals whose narratives provide valuable insights—particularly in the case of COVID, a novel pandemic.


Digitization and the Relationship Imperative

Thursday, March 25th, 3:00–3:45 pm ET | Featuring Insurance Management and Wealth Management

Digitization has transformed every industry and created an expectation among consumers that almost all business can be conducted on demand, online, and without the need for direct human connection. For industries like wealth management and insurance, which have historically relied heavily upon personal relationships, they must balance the efficiencies of technology with the importance of a value-add, client-centric approach. The ability to achieve the right mix between technology and person-to-person interaction will determine the leaders in the industry. In this conversation, Wealth Management and Insurance Management program lecturers debate the merits of the digital revolution—particularly as it relates to the complex psychology of people and what influences their choices.


Columbia University School of Professional Studies Open House

Friday, March 26th, 9:00 AM–1:00 pm ET  

Join us to learn more about how Columbia University's School of Professional Studies can help advance your career. Hear about our specialized master's degree programs, short-term certificate programs, and postbaccalaureate programs from our distinguished faculty, admissions team, and the many departments within SPS that support student success.